REPORT ON THE WORK OF THE GOVERNMENT
Delivered at the Fifth Session of the Eleventh
National People's Congress on March 5, 2012
Premier of the State Council
On behalf of the State Council, I now present to you my report on the work of the government for your deliberation and approval and for comments and suggestions from the members of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
I. Review of Work in 2011
Last year, China faced a complex and volatile political and economic environment abroad and arduous and challenging reform and development tasks at home. Working hard with one heart and one mind under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the Chinese people of all ethnic groups made significant achievements in reform, opening up, and socialist modernization. China's GDP reached 47.2 trillion yuan, an increase of 9.2% over the previous year; government revenue was 10.37 trillion yuan, an increase of 24.8%; and the country's grain output reached a record high of 571.21 million tons. A total of 12.21 million new urban jobs were created. The per capita disposable income of urban residents and the per capita net income of rural residents rose in real terms by 8.4% and 11.4%, respectively. We consolidated and built upon our achievements in responding to the global financial crisis, and got the Twelfth Five-Year Plan period off to a good start.
We accomplished the following in our work last year.
1. Strengthening and improving macro-control, preventing fast price rises, and achieving steady and robust economic development
We followed a proactive fiscal policy and a prudent monetary policy, and maintained a balance between ensuring steady and robust economic development, adjusting the economic structure, and managing inflation expectations. We paid greater attention to implementing policies with the proper focus, force, and pace; conducted prudent and flexible macro-control on a moderate scale and in a timely fashion; and constantly made our policies more targeted, flexible, and forward-looking. Amid worsening inflation expectations worldwide, fluctuating and high prices of major commodities on the world market, significantly higher costs of factors of production at home, and a shortage of some agricultural products, we made ensuring general price stability our top priority in macro-control, pursued policies in an integrated way, rationally used monetary policy tools to regulate the supplies of money and credit, vigorously developed production to ensure supply, boosted distribution, and strengthened supervision. As a result, increases in the consumer price index (CPI) and the producer price index (PPI) began falling in August, thus reversing the trend of rapid inflation. In the second half of the year, when the global economy faced greater instability and uncertainty and when new developments and problems occurred in China's economy, we kept the basic orientation of macro-control unchanged, maintained the basic continuity of our macroeconomic policies, and continued to curb inflation. In addition, we carried out timely and appropriate anticipatory adjustments and fine-tuning, strengthened coordination between credit and industrial policies, and increased structural tax reductions. We focused on supporting the real economy, especially small and micro businesses; improving the people's wellbeing, especially by building low-income housing projects; and ensuring funding for key projects that are under construction or expansion. These well-targeted measures were taken to solve major economic problems. We steadfastly tightened regulation of the real estate market and ensured that control policies were fully carried out and achieved real progress. Consequently, speculative or investment-driven housing demand has been significantly curbed, housing prices in most Chinese cities have fallen month on month, and the results of our control measures are beginning to show. We attached great importance to guarding against and eliminating latent risks which exist in the banking and public finance sectors. We fully audited local government debt in a timely manner, and obtained a clear picture of the total amount, due dates, geographic distribution, and causes of the debts local governments incurred over the years. These debts have played a positive role in promoting economic and social development and produced a large amount of quality assets. However, they also contained risks and hidden dangers, and some localities with poor ability to pay their debts were at risk of default. We sorted out and standardized these debts, imposed a cap on their increase, and actively yet prudently solved problems related to the repayment of such debts and additional funding for ongoing projects. Government debt in China now is at a controllable and secure level. China's economy as a whole continues to grow as we anticipated in our exercise of macro-controls and has become more resilient. Economic growth is robust, prices are stabilizing, economic returns are good, and the people's wellbeing is improving.
2. Accelerating the transformation of the pattern of economic development and making development more coordinated and industries more competitive
We supported development in some areas while limiting growth in others, and carried out economic structural adjustments and upgrading to increase the sustainability of development.
We consolidated and strengthened the agricultural foundation. We fully implemented the policy of strengthening agriculture, benefitting farmers, and enriching rural areas. We increased subsidies for agricultural production, and the minimum purchase price for grain rose steadily. We strengthened agricultural and rural infrastructure, with priority given to irrigation and water conservancy projects, improved rural land, increased scientific and technological services for agriculture, and improved our ability to respond to and mitigate natural disasters. Central government spending on agriculture, rural areas and farmers exceeded one trillion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 183.9 billion yuan. We had a bumper harvest in all sectors of agriculture. China's grain output increased for the eighth consecutive year, which has rarely been seen in history. Grain output in each of the past five years has exceeded 500 million tons, which shows that China's overall grain production capacity has reached a new level. We continued to renovate dilapidated houses in rural areas, ensured the safety of potable water for 63.98 million additional rural residents, delivered electricity to 600,000 people in areas that had no power supply, and further improved rural working and living conditions.
We accelerated the optimization and upgrading of the industrial structure. We energetically fostered strategic emerging industries and accelerated development of new energy, new materials, biomedicines, high-end equipment manufacturing and new-energy vehicles, and we sped up pilot projects and demonstrations for integrating the telecommunications network, the radio and television broadcasting network, and the Internet, along with the development of cloud computing and the Internet of Things. We made progress in enterprise mergers and reorganizations. We allocated 15 billion yuan from the central government budget to support more than 4,000 projects to boost key industries and upgrade their technologies. This seed capital attracted a total investment of 300 billion yuan. We accelerated the development of information consulting, e-commerce and other modern service industries, and expanded new service areas. The transportation industry developed quickly, thereby further strengthening the foundation for China's economic and social development.
We made progress in conserving energy, reducing emissions, and protecting the ecological environment. We adopted and implemented the Comprehensive Work Plan for Conserving Energy and Reducing Emissions and the Work Plan for Controlling Greenhouse Gas Emissions for the Twelfth Five-Year Plan period, and the Guidelines on Strengthening Key Environmental Protection Tasks. The installed power capacity using clean energy reached 290 million kW, an increase of 33.56 million kW over the previous year. We strengthened the development of major energy conservation and environmental protection projects. We increased daily sewage treatment capacity by 11 million tons in urban areas, and installed desulphurization systems on all new coal-fired power-generating units with a total capacity of over 50 million kW. We tightened controls over industries that are energy intensive, have high emissions or possess excess production capacity, and closed down outdated production facilities whose production capacity amounted to 150 million tons of cement, 31.22 million tons of iron, and 19.25 million tons of coke. We implemented the second phase of the project to protect virgin forests and raised related subsidies, carried out the policy of giving rewards and subsidies for grassland ecological conservation, and launched pilot projects to protect the ecological environment of lakes. And we planted 6.13 million hectares of trees.
We promoted the balanced development of regional economies. We thoroughly implemented the master strategy for regional development and the national plan for developing functional zones. We introduced preferential policies to promote the leapfrog development of Tibet and Xinjiang; and formulated and implemented a rural poverty alleviation and development program for the next ten years and an action plan to bring prosperity to border areas and the people there. As a result, regional development became better balanced, major economic indicators rose faster in the central and western regions and northeast China than the national average, and the eastern region accelerated industrial transformation and upgrading. China's urbanization level exceeded 50%, marking a historic change in the country's social structure. We completed reconstruction in Wenchuan, Sichuan, which was hit by a massive earthquake in 2008, and made major progress in disaster relief and reconstruction in Yushu, Qinghai; Zhugqu, Gansu; and Yingjiang, Yunnan.
3. Developing social services and promoting balanced economic and social development
Governments at all levels increased spending on science and technology, education, culture, health, and sports programs, with the total amount reaching 2.82 trillion yuan.
We continued to enhance China's scientific and technological innovation capabilities. We strengthened basic research and research in cutting-edge technologies. We carried out major national research and development projects, made breakthroughs in a number of core and key technologies, and filled in many gaps in important products and technologies. The Tiangong-1 space module and the Shenzhou-8 spacecraft were launched, and Shenzhou-8 successfully docked with Tiangong-1, marking a new milestone in China's development of manned spaceflights.
We made solid progress in making education more equitable. We thoroughly implemented the Plan for Education Reform and Development. Thanks to tireless efforts over the past 25 years, we have fully attained the goals of making nine-year compulsory education universally available and basically eliminating illiteracy among young and middle-aged adults. Over 30 million rural boarding school students were exempted from accommodation expenses, and 12.28 million of them who are from poor families in the central and western regions received living allowances. A comprehensive system for providing aid to students from poor families was put in place. The children of rural migrant workers were generally granted access to compulsory education in cities where they live. A three-year action plan for preschool education was carried out, and the number of children enrolled in preschool increased. We vigorously developed vocational education. We strengthened training of primary and secondary school teachers, expanded trials of reforming the system of conferring professional titles on them, and raised their overall quality. All the graduates of 2011 who received tuition-free education in teachers' colleges and universities went to teach in primary and secondary schools, with over 90% of them working in central and western China.
We vigorously strengthened development of the cultural sector. The central government increased financial support for cultural programs that benefit the people, and local governments significantly increased spending on nonprofit cultural programs. We increased the number of public cultural facilities open to the public free of charge, and steadily expanded their services. We continued to reform the cultural system, and cultural industries developed rapidly. Major progress was made in protecting cultural relics and in protecting and passing on China's intangible cultural heritage. We put great effort into building public sports facilities, vigorously developed fitness activities across the country, and made new achievements in sports activities.
We actively yet prudently carried out reform and development of medical and healthcare services. We further expanded coverage of basic medical insurance, so that now 1.3 billion urban and rural residents are covered. A medical insurance system that covers the whole population is emerging. We raised the reimbursement rate for hospitalization expenses covered by relevant policies, and expanded the range of major diseases for which medical treatment is insured. Governments at all levels increased per-person subsidies for the medical insurance for non-working urban residents and the new type of rural cooperative medical care system from 120 yuan per year to 200 yuan per year. We implemented the national system for basic drugs in all community-level medical and health care institutions run by the government, and basic drugs became safer and more affordable. We progressed in an orderly fashion with trials of reforming public hospitals, basically established a community medical and health care service system, and made progress in providing equal access to basic public health services.
4. Ensuring and improving the people's wellbeing and solving problems that affect their interests
We continued to put the people's wellbeing first, worked hard to bring the benefit of development to all, and promoted social fairness and justice.
We implemented a more active employment policy. We created jobs through a variety of channels, expanded job opportunities through the creation of new businesses, strengthened vocational skills training, and improved the public employment service system. We increased fiscal, taxation, and financial support to promote employment of university graduates, rural migrant workers, and other key groups. The employment rate for college graduates reached 77.8%, an increase of 1.2 percentage points over the previous year. The number of rural workers totaled 253 million, an increase of 4.4% over the previous year, of whom 159 million worked in towns and cities, up 3.4%.
We adjusted income distribution. We worked hard to increase the income of low-income people. Per capita net income of rural residents in real terms registered the fastest growth since 1985, outpacing urban residents for the second straight year. We significantly increased the minimum wage across the country. Basic pensions for enterprise retirees increased for the seventh consecutive year, with an average increase of 1,680 yuan per person for the year, which benefited over 57 million people. We further increased subsistence allowances for rural and urban residents and subsidies and living allowances for some entitled groups, and granted lump-sum living allowances to more than 86 million people in need, including subsistence allowance recipients in urban and rural areas and childless and infirm rural residents who are entitled to five forms of support (food, clothing, medical care, housing, and burial expenses). We instituted a mechanism to increase social aid and social security benefits when consumer prices rise. The proportion of middle-income earners in the whole population increased. We raised the salary threshold for personal income tax from 2,000 yuan to 3,500 yuan. We reduced the tax burden on over nine million self-employed people. The central government set the new poverty line at 2,300 yuan, which was the per capita net income in rural areas at 2010 prices, an increase of 92% over 2009. This resulted in more low-income people being covered by the government's poverty reduction program, which constitutes tremendous social progress.
We bolstered the development of the social security system. We continued to expand coverage of social security, and the number of people covered by basic old-age insurance for urban residents, unemployment insurance, workers' compensation and maternity insurance rose substantially nationwide. We carried out trials of old-age insurance for non-working urban residents in 2,147 counties and county-level cities and districts, covering 13.34 million residents, and 6.41 million residents received pensions. We launched trials of a new type of old-age insurance for rural residents in 2,343 counties and county-level cities and districts, covering 358 million people, and 98.8 million people received pensions. We extended coverage of this insurance to more than 60% of China's counties. We solved longstanding problems concerning pensions for more than five million retirees of collectively owned enterprises. We included 3.12 million persons who suffer from past work-related injuries and dependents of employees who lost their lives in work-related accidents in workers' compensation insurance. We worked in an orderly way to make it possible to transfer pension accounts between localities. We continued to improve the social security system and made significant progress in extending coverage to all residents. This was an important achievement for ensuring equal access to basic public services for all.
We accelerated the construction of low-income housing. We adopted guidelines on construction and management of low-income housing; improved policies on government input, land supply, credit support, and tax and fee reductions; strove to improve project planning and construction quality; and introduced a system and measures for distributing, managing, and recalling low-income housing. The central government allocated 171.3 billion yuan for these purposes, an increase of 120% over 2010. We basically completed 4.32 million units of low-income urban housing and began construction on a further 10.43 million units.
We worked hard to safeguard public safety. We intensified oversight and supervision of workplace safety and ensured that major accidents were fully investigated and dealt with and those responsible were held accountable. We improved the system and mechanisms for oversight and supervision of food safety, and gave high priority to cracking down on the use of illegal additives and the illegal production and processing of food. We put people and services first, strengthened and made innovations in social administration, strove to investigate and resolve social conflicts, cracked down on crime in accordance with the law, and maintained social harmony and stability.
5. Deepening reform and opening up and injecting new vitality and impetus into economic and social development
We intensified efforts to overcome difficulties and carried forward reform in major areas and key links to meet reform targets set forth in the Twelfth Five-Year Plan.
We improved the public finance system, particularly the budget management system. We put all extrabudgetary funds under budgetary management; expanded the scope of budgets for the use of state capital; deepened the reform requiring government departments to prepare their own budgets; and moved ahead with publicly releasing government budgets and final accounts. Ninety-eight central government departments as well as provincial and municipal governments, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong and Shaanxi, publicly released information regarding their spending on official overseas trips, official vehicles and official hospitality. We carried out a price-based reform of resource taxes on crude oil and natural gas nationwide, and introduced a plan to replace business tax with value-added tax (VAT) on a trial basis. We extended the use of RMB in cross-border trade settlement to the whole country, launched trials for settling overseas direct investment accounts in RMB, and began settling foreign direct investment accounts in RMB. We deepened reform of tenure in collective forests, launched a trial reform of state forestry farms, and started registration for contracting pastureland in accordance with the law. We pressed ahead with reform of the system for managing the construction of water conservancy facilities and made innovations in the system for managing water resources; and deepened reform of state-owned enterprises. We carried out reform to restructure power grids by separating their main business from auxiliary services and implemented the plan to adjust the prices of on-grid electricity and non-household electricity. We basically completed the reform of county and town government bodies, and proceeded with the reform of public institutions through classification in an orderly manner.
We continued to put equal emphasis on exports and imports, encouraged foreign investment in China and Chinese investment overseas, and made comprehensive improvements to China's open economy. We actively pursued the strategy of diversifying markets and improved the trade mix. China's total volume of trade in goods totaled US$ 3.64 trillion for the year, up 22.5%. Exports and imports grew by 20.3% and 24.9%, respectively, and our trade surplus decreased further. Total utilized foreign direct investment was $116 billion, and a larger proportion of it went to service industries and the central and western regions. Chinese companies expanded their overseas presence, and non-financial outward direct investment reached $60.1 billion. We actively participated in international and regional economic cooperation and continued to deepen multilateral and bilateral economic and trade relations.
We made outstanding progress in improving democracy and the legal system; strengthening national defense and building up the armed forces; and in our work related to Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan and our diplomatic work.
Our hard-won achievements over the past year are a testament to the strength and vitality of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, and have enhanced the pride and cohesiveness of the Chinese nation. We owe these achievements to the sound decisions made by the Party Central Committee, with Comrade Hu Jintao as General Secretary, and its correct leadership, as well as the concerted efforts and hard work of the Party, the armed forces, and the people of all ethnic groups in China. On behalf of the State Council, I wish to sincerely thank the Chinese people of all ethnic groups, the democratic parties, people's organizations, and people from all sectors of society. I wish to express my sincere gratitude to our compatriots in the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions and in Taiwan, as well as overseas Chinese. I also wish to express my sincere appreciation to governments of other countries, international organizations, and foreign friends around the world who show understanding for and support China in its pursuit of modernization.
We are keenly aware that China still faces many difficulties and challenges in economic and social development. Internationally, the road to global economic recovery will be tortuous, the global financial crisis is still evolving, and some countries will find it hard to ease the sovereign debt crisis any time soon. The unemployment rate remains high in the major developed economies, and they lack impetus for growth. Emerging economies face the dual pressures of inflation and slowing economic growth. The exchange rates of major currencies and the prices of important commodities are experiencing sharp fluctuations. Protectionism in international trade and investment is mounting. Domestically, it has become more urgent but also more difficult to solve institutional and structural problems and alleviate the problem of unbalanced, uncoordinated, and unsustainable development. In addition, China's economy is encountering new problems. There is downward pressure on economic growth. Prices remain high. Regulation of the real estate market is in a crucial stage. It is getting harder to maintain steady development of agriculture and sustain increases in rural incomes. Pressure to increase total employment coexists with structural shortages of qualified personnel in some industries. Some enterprises, especially small and micro businesses, face increasing difficulties in their operations. Some industries are plagued by excess production capacity. Total energy consumption is growing excessively fast. Moreover, some long-term and short-term problems are interwoven; structural and cyclical factors affect each other; domestic and international problems have become interrelated; and our macro-control work faces a more complex situation. There are still some deficiencies and shortcomings in the government's work. Targets for conserving energy, reducing emissions, and controlling prices are not being met. Problems concerning land expropriation, housing demolition, workplace safety, food and drug safety, and income distribution are still very serious and the people are still very concerned about them. Government administration and services need to be improved, and efforts to build clean government need to be intensified.
We must act with a strong sense of responsibility toward the country and the people, take more effective steps to resolve these problems, strive to do all our work better, and truly live up to the people's expectations.